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The State of Business Software at SaaStr Annual

January 29, 2019

We’re excited to be headed out to the SaaStr Annual conference in San Jose, CA next week! This year there’ll be over 300 speakers and 12,000 attendees, all there to share ideas, collaborate, and hear success stories from some of the biggest players in B2B software.

The SaaStr Annual always provides an energetic scene full of positivity, but also plenty of hard lessons learned from companies that have tread before. What we really get out of it from a product perspective is how we can better build long-term value for our customers, and do so sustainably and productively. We’re there to seek out the next wave of platforms in the engagement and intelligence layers of business software. This helps inform us of the trends in product development, guide us toward beneficial partnerships, and to understand how to generate higher return for our customers.

The schedule is jam-packed with interesting talks from companies and investors from all over the community. Here are some of the sessions we’re looking forward to this year.

‍The Secrets to Creating a Category: Lessons From Gainsight

The idea of category-creation is the North Star for anyone in SaaS, and many of the biggest players in the industry got there by seeing a market opportunity before it existed. Gainsight is one of the top-notch companies for customer success teams, and customer success is a relatively “new” concept as conceived in the SaaS market, though applies directly to how any company can and should be managing customer relationships.

Building Consumer Grade Enterprise Products with InVision, Box, Google Maps and Crunchbase

The “consumerization of IT” plays a key role in the adoption and growth of most enterprise SaaS companies, and we certainly see that trend playing out in our Fulcrum customer base. More and more often you see IT buyers not accepting the old-school packaging and quality of classic enterprise software. The focus on ease-of-use, low barriers to entry, and rapid return on investment are often table stakes for software buyers today.

How to Do Customer Success at Scale with Amazon Web Services

It’s safe to say that Amazon Web Services is powering much of the modern internet, both for consumers and corporations. With the spread of product offerings available in the AWS suite — currently sitting at nearly 100 services — the importance of expanding and deepening customer education and interest is paramount in maximizing each customer’s return. Everyone wants to create the “flywheel” of mutual value exchange between vendor and customer.

Beyond $1B ARR: Lessons from Zendesk on Why the Cloud is Unstoppable

Zendesk is a case study in how to turn a simple, widely-needed concept (help and customer support) and through focus and execution create a high value, healthy business. When they started out, customers were still deploying tools like theirs on their own self-hosted infrastructure. Their bet on the cloud has paid off handsomely and demonstrates the power of cloud computing for building platforms.

Flexport: How to Build a Truly Global Business From Day One

The business of shipping and logistics is an ancient one, but one still largely mired in the old world of regulations, manual labor, and paperwork. Even in the modern world of highly efficient containerized shipping, there’s still room for the software community to apply learnings to freight forwarding. I’m curious to see what Flexport’s approach looks like to work with such a nascent (but ripe) market as international logistics.

Small Business Will Drive the Next Billion for SaaS with Kabbage

Small- and medium-sized businesses are a huge part of the Fulcrum customer base. From the early days, we saw a gap in solutions for our market targeted for this size of customer — affordable tools for field data collection and efficiency management at an affordable, manageable price point. Seeing where business trends are going for SMB will be interesting as we continue to work with small businesses around the world.

State of the Cloud 2019 from Bessemer Venture Partners

I saw Bessemer’s State of the Cloud talks the last two years, and each one is an excellent overview of past market performance and future developments that will shape the future of the industry. This is one of the keystone talks that everyone wants to see to take the temperature of the marketplace.

Reach out to me if you’re there and interested in meeting up. We’ll be there all week to absorb the latest in SaaS industry trends.